The U.S. statement came during continued Al Qaida strikes around
Baghdad. On Tuesday, at least two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices
were detonated near Iraq Army and police installations in which at least 10
people were killed, Middle East Newsline reported. On Wednesday, another seven Iraqi police officers were
reported killed in an IED strike southeast of Baghdad.
Simcock said Al Qaida has been largely eliminated in his area of
operation in Anbar. For more than three months, he said, Al Qaida has been
unable to "conduct any type of concerted efforts to prevent us from doing
the things that we want to do within AO Raleigh."
Officials attributed the Al Qaida defeat in the border province to the
U.S. surge strategy in Iraq. They said the U.S. military succeeded in
recruiting Sunni tribes to identify and fight Al Qaida operatives in Anbar
"The four major tribes around Faluja — we've been able to have the
leaders of those tribes come back," Simcock told an Oct. 15 briefing. "A lot
of them had fled Iraq because of murder intimidation from Al Qaida. They
fled to Syria and Jordan. We've been successful in getting them to come back
security situation allowed that, and that has been a tremendous benefit for
Officials said U.S. counter-insurgency operations in Anbar have
facilitated the coalition offensive against Al Qaida in Baghdad. They said
the reduction in the Al Qaida influx in Baghdad has reduced Sunni-Shi'ite
violence in the Iraqi capital.
"The only AQI [Al Qaida in Iraq] that we see, we see a little bit in our
Sunni enclaves, but we mostly get them when they're in the VBIED because the
Shia are the targets in the marketplaces," Col. Jeffrey Bannister, commander
of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, said.
Over the last four months, the Al Qaida network throughout Iraq has also
been significantly eroded, officials said. But they warned that Al Qaida
remains strong in the Diyala province and the so-called Triangle of Death
south of Baghdad.
"I think that they significantly have been crippled," U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant Gen. James Conway said. "I think that's a fair word. I would not
say destroyed, I would not say eliminated. Are they still dangerous?
Absolutely, and certainly they are not destroyed."